Picture: @KingGeorgeSams

Polokwane - Running battles between students at the University of Limpopo’s Mankweng campus and the police have forced the university management to suspend lectures on Wednesday.

Students at the university returned from an academic recess on Monday and joined the #FeesMustFall campaign that has swept through the country’s institutions of higher learning.

In a notice to students, vice-chancellor Mashomanye Mokgalong said the decision to shut down the university was taken due to “protracted violent protests” on campus.

“The suspension is with immediate effect. All students are instructed to vacate residences by 17h00 at the latest. The decision was taken in the interests of the safety and security our students, staff and university property,” said Mokgalong.

Three students were arrested and charged with public violence at the campus after skirmishes broke out between private security personnel and students on Tuesday night. Three other arrested students were released.

Violence broke out and a student residence was reportedly torched during the fracas. Two students were injured after police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters that had gathered inside the campus.

University campuses have been rocked by protests since last year as students demanded free higher education.

An announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that fee increases for 2017 would be capped at eight percent brought a fresh wave of protests as students demanded a no fee increase until government implemented free higher education.

On Tuesday Nzimande said damage to university property as a result of the unrest had reached at least R600 million.

African News Agency